Meet Mrs. Deming!
by Amulya Aluru
One of the few teachers who left Northside last year included Mr. Daniel Caldwell, who taught Honors Physics, AP Physics C, and Honors Astronomy. Many returning Northsiders remember him for his Physics colloquium or his passion for riding bikes. Freshmen will soon become familiar with the new Honors Physics teacher, Mrs. Joanna Deming, who has replaced Mr. Caldwell. She is new to the Chicago area, and has been teaching in Michigan for the past five years.
When asked what her dream job was growing up, Mrs. Deming took a moment before nostalgically replying, “I thought when I was little that I wanted to be the shortstop for the Yankees.” Although her original dream did not pan out, Mrs. Deming has found a new passion in teaching. Her childhood home in Iowa City featured a large chalkboard in the basement where she would often teach her stuffed animals basic arithmetic or English. Soon after she began high school, Mrs. Deming quickly fell in love with math and physics.
After graduating high school, Mrs. Deming attended Grinnell College where she majored in physics and German. Her original major was math, but after taking higher-level courses, she realized that her talents could be better used in a different department. From there, her focus shifted from architecture to social justice, and finally fixated on teaching. During her junior and senior years at Grinnell, Mrs. Deming was extremely involved in student government, as she served as Vice President of Student Council. Amid the stress of school and extracurriculars, she also maintained her job as a teaching assistant for the Introductory Physics course. Mrs. Deming explained to the Hoofbeat that her job as a physics teaching assistant fueled her desire to teach in the classroom.
After graduating, Mrs. Deming went to graduate school and received her masters in teaching from the University of Iowa. If any readers have questions about Grinnell or the University of Iowa, feel free to meet with Mrs. Deming in 305A.
Similar to many teachers at Northside, Mrs. Deming strongly believes that teaching should be interactive. She tries her best to engage students in the curriculum without simply lecturing for the 100 minute blocks at Northside. Mrs. Deming fondly spoke about one of her class’s projects at her old school in Michigan: building an air rocket. The class was told to design and launch the rocket effectively to demonstrate what they had learned in the projectile motion unit. According to Mrs. Deming, the most rewarding part was, “seeing the students get really excited when their rockets went down the entire length of the hallway.”
Mrs. Deming also commented on Northside’s unique order of science courses: Physics, Chemistry, then Biology. She agreed that physics creates a foundation that helps all of the other sciences become easier to comprehend for students.
One of Mrs. Deming’s goals for this year is to meet new people who are interested in all different fields, not only science. She shared that she would like to, “be involved at least at some small level in some student activities outside of school.” She is excited to attend the fall play, spring musical, and other events happening at Northside. When asked about her first week at Northside, Mrs. Deming immediately perked up. She says she loves the students and staff, and even more so, the block schedule. Northside’s infamous block schedule has been subject to scorn and praise. Mrs. Deming falls in the latter, and while admitting it takes some getting used to, she is excited to experience the change.
Mrs. Deming was also really enthusiastic about one of her hobbies: playing games of any kind. She revealed that she is really competitive and is hoping to start a board game colloquium. Her new apartment supposedly has an entire closet dedicated to the plethora of games she has accumulated over the years.
Lastly, for students taking any level of physics, Mrs. Deming advises them to seek help if confused and to push through. When she was in high school, Mrs. Deming actually received a B in her physics course because of its difficulty. Instead of giving up, she continued to pursue the subject because of her love for it, and now teaches it.
It is an honor to welcome Mrs. Deming to the Northside community, and, if you see her in the halls, please say hello and make her feel welcome!